Year 1

STAT3 is a major player in controlling the fates of a variety of cell types including embryonic stem cells. In this project, we proposed to investigate how STAT3 regulates embryonic stem cell fate. We found that STAT3 play diverse roles in regulating embryonic stem cell properties including self-renewal, cell adhesion and cell growth/survival. In the past reporting period, we have made the following progress:

1. Constructed nine different mutant forms of STAT3 and performed preliminary functional rescue experiments.
2. Established an inducible gene expression system which allows us to efficiently control the expression of different STAT3 mutants.
3. Performed preliminary experiments on identifying STAT3 target genes by microarray and real-time PCR analysis;
4. Examined the effect of STAT3 activation on human embryonic stem cell self-renewal.

Based on the above results we have obtained and the tools we have developed, we are currently investigating the basic mechanisms how STAT3 regulates the fate of embryonic stem cells.